Kauai physician guilty
By Jim Dooley
Advertiser Staff Writer
Kaua'i physician Dr. Harold Spear III, already awaiting federal sentencing on illegal narcotics prescription charges, has pleaded guilty to similar charges in state court.
In what authorities called the "dial-a-doc" case, Spear wrote prescriptions for the controlled substances methadone and hydro-codone without meeting patients personally or conducting necessary medical examinations.
He pleaded guilty in Kaua'i Circuit Court to two felony charges of illegally prescribing and dispensing controlled substances.
The state charges grew from two searches of Spear's Hanapēpē Clinic by federal and state drug agents in 2006 that turned up dozens of prescriptions for controlled substances that were written and dispensed by the clinic while Spear was out of the state.
He will be sentenced June 16.
In a plea agreement reached with the state Attorney General's office, Spear is expected to be sentenced to up to five years in prison, which would be served concurrently with any federal prison sentence he receives.
Spear admitted in federal proceedings that he signed blank methadone prescription forms for one patient to be filled out by his office workers while he was traveling.
In a related case filed in Alabama, Spear prescribed hydrocodone, a powerful narcotic, after only a telephone consultation with the patient.
Spear last year attempted to withdraw his federal guilty plea, saying that his reasoning was impaired because he did not receive proper levels of medication for mental and physical ailments while held in the Federal Detention Center.
He later dropped that request and is scheduled to be sentenced April 12.